Published on December 16th, 2015 | by ECSWE0
Report: ECSWE Council meeting in Bratislava, 2nd – 4th October 2015
This time we met in the last warm and sunny days of autumn in a picturesque place on the outskirt of the capital of Slovakia. We were welcomed in the cozy yard and the building of the private primary Waldorf School in Bratislava.
On Friday morning the conference “Challenge of Creativity” was held in collaboration with ECSWE and APSWS (Association of Friends of Free Waldorf Schools of Slovakia). It started with anecdotes from the first graduate of the school and his father, followed by a walk through the school building. After the break we listened to the speeches of Peter Neurath and Emil Pales, about the importance of integrated teaching and learning in schools in Slovakia in the 19th and 20th century. Mr. Burjan spoke about leaving the space for creativity in schools.
The ECSWE Council meeting on Friday evening started with a presentation of the Bratislava school, the Slovakian Waldorf movement and the teacher training course.
The movement in Slovakia started 23 years ago with the support of some teachers from the Netherlands and in 2001 the first school with 20 pupils opened. For some time the school worked as an experiment, which finished in 2013 with positive reviews. Nowadays there is a big demand for enrollment but the school can take in only one third of all applications to class one. The opening of a high school is not allowed for the time being, but the present reform in education gives hopes to change the situation. Two schools, two kindergartens and about 35 individual members are united in the Association. One new school in Bratislava is starting its way towards self-management now. There is a 3-year Waldorf teacher training course in Bratislava, run in cooperation with the University of Krems in Austria. Many people are interested in the training, but unfortunately it’s still difficult to find teachers for the school. This year the first teachers, who already work at the Bratislava school, will probably finish their studies.
This presentation was followed by the activity reports of our guests:
- “Friends of Waldorf Education”, (WOW-day action, the essential Characteristics of Waldorf/Steiner Education – a working document).
- “Software AG Stiftung”, (supported the Waldorf movement for 15 years very intensively, investing millions of Euro).
Saturday started with an artistic activity, eurythmy, followed by a review of the previous Council meeting in Yerevan: The Armenian representative reported that the ‘Aregnazan’ Steiner school of Yerevan was the only school in the country that participated in honoring the memory of victims of genocide and asked the questions of how to overcome and go beyond this national trauma. There were two talk-shows with ECSWE members and guests on TV which had a big resonance at the state level. The number of applications to the school doubled, so they are looking for a second building to open a branch-school.
Steiner School Certificate (SSC): The guests from New Zealand (Karen Brice-Geard and Glen Saunders) presented the history of the SSC, its implications for quality assurance in the upper schools in New Zealand and its extension to some European countries. At present some schools in the UK, Germany and Austria are offering the SSC. A large amount of time was given to discussion and questions. The Diploma group within ECSWE continues to work on it.
ERASMUS+ Project “Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills” (ACTS): The project leader (UK) and the partner countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway) presented the project. The potential for cooperation with the Diploma group and the SSC should be explored.
The task of the working groups this time was to look deeper into the working paper “Essential Characteristics of Waldorf/Steiner Education” issued by the International Forum.
On Sunday morning the ECSWE survey on school readiness was presented, further analysis is needed.
The European Portfolio Certificate (EPC): This year a graduate from Ljubljana was admitted to Belgrade University in Serbia without exams, just with the EPC. Participation in the project is open to all schools. Further information can be found on www.epc-group.org . New folders were printed; they are in the ECSWE office ready for distribution firstname.lastname@example.org
A domestic report from Slovenia was presented; see on the ECSWE website www.ecswe.net
Asociácia priateľov slobodných waldorfských škôl, Slovakia
Representative to ECSWE
Association of Waldorf Initiatives in Ukraine
Representative to ECSWE